VIDEO: ‘We won’t let it happen!’ shout furious opponents of King County’s White Center shelter plan

September 15th, 2016 Tracy Posted in housing, King County, White Center news 31 Comments »

(Added early Friday: Unedited WCN video of meeting, in its entirety)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

King County promises a second community meeting about its uncloaked-at-the-last-minute plan to open a 70-bed shelter in White Center.


That followed a tense and intense standing-room-only meeting with more than 100 people, many furious and frightened, saying the shelter proposed for the former Public Health building at 8th and 108th is too close to schools, too close to homes, simply the wrong location.

Some declared they will do whatever it takes to stop it, and were talking about protests and crowdfunding for legal action.

Here’s how the 2 1/2-hour meeting – an hour longer than originally planned – unfolded in TAF’s Bethaday Community Learning Space, close to the location where the county says it wants to open the shelter by November 1st.

The meeting was moderated by Michael Ramos of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, who opened it reiterating that the most-recent One Night Count found 10,000 people unsheltered in King County. It is a “there but for the grace of God go I” situation, he stressed. He said he is part of the All Home coalition that works on the homelessness crisis. “With supportive services, this can be a place of hope and healing for the community.” He promised comments and questions/answers will be “audio-recorded” with an FAQ posted on King County’s website.

The county “is determined to hear” what those in attendance have to say, Ramos promised while trying to set ground rules for the discussion. One man said that he felt it was somewhat disrespectful for the meeting organizers to even have to suggest such rules might be needed.

Next to speak, Mark Ellerbrook, the King County official, to whom we spoke for the preview story we published on Tuesday. “The need in this community is very real,” he declared. Ellerbrook reiterated that Southwest King County has the largest number of people living outdoors outside Seattle – at least 100 estimated to be in White Center, sleeping in doorways, parks, other places. Calls to 211 numbered more than 1,300 for the three zip codes that cover the greater White Center area. “There is no shelter” in this area, he again declared, aside from small shelters for women in West Seattle and Burien. The county looks at where it needs services, and this area qualifies, he said. So, they started looking at where they could provide services, “and move (people) into housing.”

As he had told WCN in our interview, the shelter will operate 5 pm to 8 am. Ellerbrook handed the microphone to Maj. Smith and Scott Morehouse from the Salvation Army.

Smith said he has “been doing this a long time” – involved with shelter, addictions, and is Director of Social Services in the Seattle area. “Our flagship programs have become our shelter operations.” Up to 230 beds at three locations comprise the programs right now, he said, and Morehouse is the manager; he said he’s a “member of the White Center community.”

After their short intros, the microphone was handed to Steve Daschle of Southwest Youth and Family Services, a West Seattle-headquartered nonprofit. As he had told the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council months ago, his organization and others are looking at a potential development at the site of this emergency shelter and the neighboring White Center Food Bank. “We have a vision .. of a community service center that could serve White Center and Southwest King County,” working with the WCFB and White Center Community Development Association. In addition to that, they are talking with Capitol Hill Housing to provide “several units of housing” on that site, but he said it’s still early – at least two, three, four years before the building could be built, “a brand new, beautiful resource for the community.”

First person to ask a question was Bobby Beeman of Sky’s Barber Shop and the White Center Chamber of Commerce, asking why White Center businesses hadn’t been notified until just a few days ago.

He said that WC residents seem to believe that businesspeople are “pushing homeless people” from the business district, into residential areas. “I happen to know that the 300 or 400 people you talk about in White Center, if you go out and had conversation with the people you seem to want to help and ask them what they needed, you’ll find that they prefer to be on the fringe, that they don’t want (what) you are going to offer them.” He also brought up what King County’s Ellerbrook had said, that they operate regionally so people don’t have to be from White Center to use a WC shelter, and so on.

Ellerbrook said yes, that’s true, and said that outreach workers try to build relationships with people to bring them in and help with their issues and while it might not click the first time, it eventually does.

Beeman pressed him on the point of the county suggesting that the business community supported this. Ellerbrook said that they had heard “in various meetings” and then said, “I apologize for” not reaching out directly to businesspeople, and he reiterated that they had distributed notices within 500 feet of the planned shelter.

Next person to speak says the intersection “with four schools” is one of the busiest, most dangerous in the area, and he’s concerned that those schools all will be starting around the time that the shelter sends people out for the day. He said that “We’re not going to stand for this to come into this place, if we have to place a human barrier in front of it.” He vowed to inundate the county with e-mails “because we’re not going to have this.” He also said planning for the facility allegedly began a year ago and there wouldn’t even be a meeting tonight if WCCDA’s Sili Savusa hadn’t told the county they had better talk to the community.”

Next, two people who said that transients go by their house and throw trash into their yard, and that a fire was started.

“Send them to Bellevue, send them to Kirkland!” he and his wife shouted, with supportive shouts coming from the audience.

Next, a woman from the Coalition on Homelessness said the problem is that there are people who have nowhere to go. This facility will offer evening and morning meals, which will allow people more time “to work on their jobs.” Many people sleeping outside do work, she said. “I want to call attention to the fact that the people living outside are human beings like the rest of us, we are all people. They are (also) residents of this community.”

“No, no, no,” yell some in the audience.

The advocate said it’s important that people realize drug and alcohol problems are not limited to unsheltered people. “We are talking about people who might have lived in your community before and lost their homes because they lost their jobs.”

“Do you live in White Center?” someone hollered from the audience.

Next person to speak identified herself as an Arrowhead Gardens resident. She said, “We have two encampments next door and we are comfortable with those encampments … When you talk about drugs, you will note that the people who are living there have a sign that says ‘no drugs allowed'” – she appears to be speaking about Camp Second Chance – and she goes on to say it’s important “that you don’t lump all people who are homeless as (if they are) a monstrosity.” She closes by reading a few lines of poetry.

Next speaker is a woman who identifies herself as a mom, and says this is “kind of unexpected.” She voices concern about children walking to school. She wonders why this location and not one that is more out of the way. Ellerbrook answers the question and says that the layout of the building works well for the various types of people they hope to serve, and reiterates that it’s a “temporary use of a county facility that’s vacant at the moment.”

Then a woman who says she is a White Center “building owner” and married to a business owner says she “cleans my parking lot almost every day,” scrubbing away excrement, picking up needles, bottles, cleaning out graffiti. She says she’s concerned that there’s no limit on nights that people can stay. “What incentive are we giving them … it sounds like enabling … I don’t mean to lump this population with going to get loaded, shoot up, stumble into the shelter … this should be a give-and-take and it sounds like take, take, take.” She thinks people using the shelter should have to show proof they are looking for work and trying to better their circumstances. “What are they going to change?”

Ellerbrook: “If we provide a shelter with barriers – they don’t come indoors. If it’s a low-barrier shelter, we get people to come in, and get them to address” their circumstances and challenges “and move into housing.”

Morehouse from the Salvation Army said that adding part-time case management increased “housing outcomes” at their downtown shelter by seven percent. “You said seven percent?” someone shouted, and someone else laughed.

Maj. Smith said that sheltering originally was about just keeping people from freezing to death on the street. “When you start to provide extended services … they will respond … they do respond. Not everybody responds, but those who do, we’ve seen them increase their ability to stabilize and access other services, and it’s a deterrent to the other things that the community faces … without that. … Intervention of this type leads to a decrease” in the problems. Smith mentions that the Salvation Army already has a nearby location (in South Delridge) where they can “engage” with the people who will be in this shelter.

What does “moving into housing” mean? someone asked. It might be “supportive housing,” Ellerbrook said. It might be “rapid rehousing.” But “we know that those folks who enter into housing stay in it for the long term.”

“Who pays for it?” someone asked loudly.

“So that doesn’t mean those people got on their feet,” said the person who asked the question.

A community member said she had been homeless and supports good programs, but she is concerned that this isn’t the best model, that people will just go out in the daytime and hang around in parks. “I don’t think we have the resources to provide public safety … I also have concerns about a faith-based model being used to support homeless people,” and she suggested other types of programs might help better with recovery.

Maj. Smith said that “being a faith-based organization is a lot different than providing faith-based services” – the programs are not faith-based, he said.

The next person mentioned Camp Second Chance (which is just inside the gate to the City of Seattle-owned Myers Way Parcels). “I asked them what they thought their solution would be … and it was that they can’t afford housing in Seattle. I said, ‘at least you’re not doing drugs here,’ and I got this deer in the headlights look, so I’m not so sure.” She went on to say that she has known methadone-using addicts and has had drug-using squatters on her property, and that the situation on Myers Way “has exploded this summer.” She said that opioid problems seem to be the root of the problem, and said that programs such as methadone and implants are keeping people addicted. She thought some different types of programs should be used.

Next speaker declared, “Communication is terrible, especially from King County, so since the county is going to do what it wants to do, regardless of the protest … what is it exactly that is going to happen to us in six weeks, so we know what to go to Joe McDermott and complain about?”

“We are going through the permitting process for ‘change of use’,” Ellerbrook said. “There are also improvements being made to the building – the fire panel, the facility generally, so it can be managed as a shelter. … This is the first that DCHS has heard (about the intersection concerns),” so they will go to the Roads Department about that. The concerns voiced tonight, he reiterated, will be posted on the county website.

Next, a woman who said she had been in human services for 10 years, “I am not unfamiliar, I have been in One Night Count, I have been out on the streets counting … I, as are (many others) here, am a homeowner, in Seola Gardens. We are a mixed-income community. Before the houses were built, we encountered some of the homeless (people) who would come take advantage of a safe haven that is there … we found many individuals who were opioid users, asleep on the vacant lots.” She said she was concerned about the central intake area, and who will be handling the data so that there are no longer people unable to access services. “How else is the county going to help with MIDD” – mental, instable, drug dependency.

Ellerbrook said that’s a levy that’s up for renewal right now, being considered by the County Council right now “that will be able to directly assist in this area.” Who are the other nonprofits that will be working with the shelter users? the woman asked again. Ellerbrook mentioned Sound Mental Health, as he had in our conversation earlier this week. Also: “One of the key interventions we will be using is ‘rapid rehousing’, to get people into housing quickly, for less cost than historically. … If we can get people into housing, they are successful in (staying housed).”

Besides Salvation Army and Sound Mental Health, he said “coordinated entry” would be done, including an initial assessment. “So if somebody presents at the shelter, they would get an assessment at the shelter … and they would be able to get a referral for housing, and that is managed by the county.”

The next speaker said, “I am excited for this … I think this is a good opportunity … I think (I am hearing) a lot of concern from the audience that we are not informed, that happens a lot in White Center… but … the numbers that we heard in the beginning, that there are 300 people in Southwest King County, unsheltered … the need is already here … we need to provide people a way to make better choices … I know that when I am rested and fed a little bit, I am able to think about things like my job …” He asked people to see people who might have the chance to make a transition.

After him, a man who said, “This is an enhanced shelter, which means no screening of occupants, people could show up drunk, stoned, they’ll be admitted – what about the people in there who are trying to get ahead?” And:”This is not about family homeless situations, this is about people who may not want to get help … it’s not for people under 18; existing felons or drug users can take advantage of this … it’s a regional (problem). These people can come from anywhere. … This is a main thoroughfare, it’s already been pointed out this is a dangerous intersection, I don’t want people squatting under my trees, parking their van in front of my house … this hurts the neighborhood, makes it more prone to crime, drugs, it’s not well thought out, you guys are shoving it down our throats. … This is not the right solution.”

Someone shouted from the back, “why not families?”

Ellerbrook replied that couples will be allowed in this shelter, unlike many. He didn’t answer why children would not be allowed.

Next: “We’re not necessarily opposed … we’re pissed off beyond belief that we’re just now getting to talk about it … we’re being told it’s opening November 1st without getting a chance to have a say. We’re not saying that homeless people are the worst of the worst, but 60 percent of them have alcohol, drug problems .. We want to get them help but we’re not being given the chance. Did you talk to the parents of (nearby schools)?”

No! shout many in the audience.

She says she has a daughter at Mount View Elementary and is worried that once the shelter users are sent out for the day, they’ll hang out in the area. The shelter operators will not know if any of them are sex offenders or have criminal backgrounds. “You have no respect for this community,” she shouts.

There’s no response to the statement, and many shout, “NO RESPONSE? ANSWER THE QUESTION!”

Ellerbrook says they reached out to the schools. Then a woman runs up to the front of the room and says she hasn’t been able to sleep for nights since hearing about the shelter plan, and that she talked to Highline Public Schools‘ security chief and that he told her he knew nothing about it.

The woman continues to shout that the children would be walking the same path as the people using the shelter.

One man in the back of the room shouted, “THERE WILL BE NO SHELTER!”

Another woman shouting from the side of the room demanded to know more about when there was alleged outreach to the schools.

Ellerbrook said he talked to a principal last week.

“LAST WEEK?” people shouted.

“You need to talk to the parents!” some shout.

“We will not let it happen! It will not let it happen!” people shouted.

Someone else shouted “GoFundMe page for an attorney!”

Answering a question from a few minutes earlier, Ellerbrook said that funding was planned for the shelter through 2017, and then part of it would be from state funds and “some of the other local dollars we use to provide shelter through the county.”

Next person to speak told those at the meeting that they “have done a pretty poor job” of getting information to the community. “That being said, these people who need the support and the services who are going to be offered at this place are already part of our community, they are already here, and I think there’s a great amount of evidence that these services are successful.” He wanted the Salvation Army to explain what kind of success they’ve said.

Morehouse said, “The people you come into contact with who access shelter and walk away as a success story, I wish we could tell you the numbers are huge … but we know that’s not really possible. What we are committed to is intervention, what we are committed to is trying to find resources for people, trying to help (them) on this almost impossible journey … If we don’t, who will?”

Next attendee said he has had to put up a fence on his property to keep transients away. He had trouble reaching someone in King County to listen to him. “I think you guys are confusing what the problem is.”

“The problem is that we have too many people here already,” someone said.

A woman said, “When you have children in this area, it’s location, location, location … when we call the cops every single night because there are people out back, couples out back, having sex, swearing, leaving needles, condoms, we can’t even have our grandchildren play at our home, when we can no longer use a park because all these people are going to be released out into the community … God bless the homeless, I wish I could give a home to everyone of them, but it’s this location, why could you not have chosen somewhere else? The complaint is location, we might as well be the third frickin’ runway here, we were not given any warning. … you can’t have a discussion for a year and then suddenly” bring it forward.

Pat Price from the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council said they received no official notification – it was brought up at their last meeting only because a NHUAC member lived close enough to get the notice about this. (And we should note, the only reason we heard about this is because we routinely cover NHUAC meetings, and are the only media organization that does that – we then had to work through the county to get the notice.) She asked if King County uses “its own Equity Impact Tool” or if it commissioned a housing analysis or opportunity mapping while planning this project. And Price wondered about the meeting notice’s mention that the community could suggest alternate sites.

“This is the worst site!” shouted someone in the back of the room.

Ellerbrook said they heard a suggestion for the DSHS building in downtown White Center, so they investigated it, but: “That’s been fully leased out to Sea Mar,” he said. A man in the back of the room said the county wasn’t aware of that previously.

The next person to speak said she felt “there should be a shelter somewhere in White Center – but, in a residential area, where there are homes north, east, south, west – children walk to school, my child, and it’s not as safe as it was when I used to walk to school – I’m glad this community is here today. These questions haven’t been answered to our community. Our community is suffering from this and we need to talk again. Homelessness in White Center is real … November is only two months away .. this community doesn’t really need a shelter in the residential area.”

Another woman says she found out about the meeting from a neighbor who works with the school district. “You should have had meetings when you started planning a year ago.” She said she had suggested previously that unused school buildings be used. If school district people had been notified back at the start of the planning process, they could have offered those suggestions.

Ellerbrook said they would take that suggestion under advisement as well as possibly changing the discharge hours at the shelter. Then people started shouting, that’s not the problem, it’s the location. Ellerbrook said, “Are there ways that we can mitigate the concerns?”

“No!” shouted many in the crowd.

Ellerbrook reiterated that people who will be served by the shelter are “in the community” now. “We will be doing outreach to those specific locations, to people who are already in your community, who are causing some of the issues (that people at the meeting have brought up).”

The next speaker identified herself as 26 years old and said homelessness has been an issue since before she was born, so, “What is the rush? … If these resources haven’t been available before this, then why are we rushing something that clearly the community is not on board with? This is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed in this neighborhood – I have a heart for members of this community (including those who are homeless) and this could be an amazing thing if it had been addressed correctly.”

Ellerbrook addressed that question by saying that they wanted to open it before the worst weather hit, “when we open emergency shelters throughout the county.”

Barbara Dobkin of NHUAC pointed out that this was not brought up at the most recent Community Service Area meeting. “We are presently a community of poverty … We have progressively been getting poorer and this is by design. This isn’t by accident, this is by design. … Why is it that White Center is a catch-all for things that nobody else wants?”

Ellerbrook says again that this will serve people who are already in the community, and that many of them are likely to be members of underserved, underrepresented groups.

A man saying he just moved into Seola Gardens says he is worried about policing, and that “Seattle is making their problems our problems.” He wonders what kind of protection people can expect.

“Self-policing!” says a man in the back. “Arm yourselves!”

“People don’t want to be homeless,” Ellerbrook said in his next reply.

“Baloney!” someone hollered.

Ellerbrook said that if people know they have a spot in the shelter the next night, they won’t be queueing up outside it. “What do you do when it’s full?” an attendee shouted.

Next person said he was frustrated to hear of the 7 percent success rate. He said he got a flyer and ran around his neighborhood telling his neighbors about it, and that they hadn’t heard. He lives near Mount View Elementary and said that he called police a few years back about a prostitution problem. He said that the shelter will bring the neighborhood down. That led to someone else complaining about car prowling problems. “You can’t take care of the people who are here now.”

The next speaker said she had lived in her car for six months, with a baby, “it was not a pleasant experience,” and she had help getting out of it, but had to live up to certain “parameters.” And she was concerned about not knowing who will be in the area. “Think of the children,” she said, “really.”

“I’ve heard a lot about this being temporary – is it temporary until it becomes permanent?” asked the next questioner. She also worried about people coming to the shelter after being “swept” from crime-ridden encampments like Seattle’s “Jungle.”

Ellerbrook reiterated that the time frame would be likely up to three years. And he again said, this is for people who are in the community now. That drew more shouting about the “regional” explanation that had been offered earlier. Regarding the seven percent “success rate,” he said they know that is low, and that’s why they are moving to the “enhanced shelter” plan, which they feel will have a much higher success rate.

Asked if this has been announced, he said, “We have not mentioned this to any homeless people.”

At this point, 8:37 pm, two hours into the meeting, Ramos said there were 25 more people signed up to speak.

The next one said he hadn’t received a notice about the meeting but was wondering if the county would consider screening, or changing the plan to a women’s shelter.

“One of the things we know is that we screen too many people out of shelter,” Ellerbrook reiterated. “Low-barrier shelters” get more people indoors and connected to services.

“The ones who can’t make it elsewhere?” shouted someone.

Next speaker asked again, why won’t this shelter be open to families?

Ellerbrook said that “co-mingled facilities” with singles, couples, and families don’t work, “because of the low-barrier nature of the shelter …”

“Because it’s not safe!” people shouted. “Just say it!”

Ellerbrook said, “What I know from our shelter operators is that they don’t operate shelters that are (co-mingled).”

So why is it safe for the shelter to be near schools? others demanded to know.

The next speaker went up and started shouting in Ellerbrook’s face from inches away.

Then another asked the question posed above – so if they’re not safe under your roof, why are they safe near schools and homes?

Ellerbrook replied, “when we have the shelter open … these folks are going to be indoors, receiving the case-management services they need. … We very clearly heard the concern about children walking down the street.”

At that point, there was another shout about raising money for a lawyer. Another person said, “I think what you people are doing is criminal, and was not done properly … I don’t really have any questions … I don’t really like the answers, they’re not really answers.” He mentioned the disc golf course at Dick Thurnau Memorial Park. “It’s taken about 30 years to get rid of homelessness and everybody’s concerns … and you’re inviting this back without (asking anyone) … I found out through neighbors. The location is terrible, around schools, in a park – 300 feet from the building – that’s where they’re going to go. It’s criminal what you guys are doing.”

Next attendee: “I don’t have kids, but it’s about the location. The way you have communicated is atrocious.” She says she enjoys running through the park without worrying … and “we know there’s a homeless problem, and I would love to work with you on a solution, but it can’t be at that location.”

A man who spoke before took the spot of a neighbor and declared again that they will crowdfund for a lawyer and “put an injunction on this. We have to stop it.” He said that as a parent he will be “sleeping with a gun on my chest.”

Former White Center Chamber of Commerce president Mark Ufkes says there’s been an overnight provider in WC “that’s has some success taking people off the street” and that he and his children took people to the shelter to get them off the street. He said he was heartened to hear that many people agree there is a problem with homelessness, and he is glad to hear that White Center is now going to do its part. “We have a lot of people in White Center who need help right now.”

The next speaker echoed that people experiencing homelessness need help.

Ellerbrook said he would be interested in a followup meeting about addressing the problem of homelessness in the community. “There are ways that (the plan) can be modified to address the concerns.”

“We’re willing to be part of the solution – give us the chance!” a woman said.

“I hear you loud and clear – you don’t want it here,” Ellerbrook said, proposing that a second meeting be held to work through concerns.

Get the word out more widely, people said. “Expand the notification!” someone said. “Tell the schools!” someone else said. “Put a stop to it (in the meantime)!” yet another person said.

Ramos then took the microphone and reiterated that they will have another meeting and get the word out.

The next speaker was a young woman who said that she is a Cascade Middle School student and she is not afraid of homeless people but she is afraid of what she has heard, that she might get hurt. “What you’re doing is wrong,” she told the meeting organizers.

Then, Sili Savusa of the White Center Community Development Association, speaking about the community’s strength, and that it “knows how to get stuff done.”

She said she heard about this and it “caught me off guard, and I thought, ‘the community needs to be part of the conversation’, but what I don’t want to see is another community like White Center to be marginalized and have a decision made without them in the room either.” She calls for a citizens’ committee to be created, and to include people experiencing homelessness. “We need to get the right people in the room to talk about this.” And, she says, she is asking that the county put a hold on the plan, “take a step back, look at it, on behalf of the homeless folks who need services all over the community.”

Ellerbrook says he will “take (Savusa) up on (the committee idea).”

We recorded the entire two and a half hour meeting on video and will add that video when it is ready, in the early morning.

7:18 AM FRIDAY: That video has now been added, atop this story.

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FOLLOWUP: Why King County wants to open a White Center shelter for people experiencing homelessness, how it will work, and who it’s for

September 13th, 2016 Tracy Posted in housing, King County, White Center news 36 Comments »

(WCN/WSB photo)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

At least 100 people are sleeping outside in White Center on any given night, it’s estimated.

But there’s no official shelter anywhere nearby.

King County hopes to change that before winter, by converting the former Public Health building at 8th SW/SW 108th into a shelter for 70 people.

We first reported this after finding out about it while covering the September 1st North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, where president Liz Giba mentioned an upcoming community meeting to discuss it. We subsequently obtained and published notice of the meeting, which is set for this Thursday night (September 15th).

When we contacted the King County division in charge of the project, Housing and Community Development, we were offered the chance to talk with its manager Mark Ellerbrook about the project.

Here’s what we learned in a conversation with him on Monday:

Ellerbrook reiterated that County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared homelessness to be “an emergency” as of last November. The annual countywide One Night Count two months later found more than 300 people sleeping outside in Southwest King County alone, the “highest number of unsheltered homeless people outside Seattle,” according to Ellerbrook, with at least 100 of them estimated to be in White Center. The three zip codes that include parts of White Center, meantime, had 1,300 calls last year for homelessness-related assistance.

That indicates a high “level of need,” Ellerbrook observed, not that the county needed the numbers to be aware, since they’ve long been hearing at community meetings about people camping and/or sleeping in doorways and along streets.

But the White Center area has had no shelter to address the need – nothing between an 8-person shelter for women at a West Seattle church and a 9-person shelter for women in Burien. “A pretty high level of need, with almost no shelter services.”

So as the county assessed its resources, with the mission of deploying them toward helping with the homelessness emergency, this building came up. It also was transferred between county departments, making it more easily available for this new use.

It will operate as an “enhanced shelter,” Ellerbrook said, noting that this type of shelter was recommended by some of the reports released last week focusing on the regional crisis, one that operates without some of the restrictions that “are often barriers to people seeking shelter.”

He confirmed that the Salvation Army will operate the shelter, as part of an existing contract with the county, offering case management and other services. We asked about the cost, and he said that hadn’t been finalized yet. (We will check back.) The SA already operates some shelters in county buildings, according to Ellerbrook, and does “a really good job of managing a challenging population”; in addition, it already is involved in the area, with a facility in South Delridge.

The shelter will accept single adults and couples, 18 and over – no children.

The hours will be longer than many “overnight” shelters – opening at 5 pm, offering dinner and breakfast, and closing at 8 am, “so that folks will have more time indoors, with case management connecting in the evening and the morning.” Extra “transportation services” will be offered too, Ellerbrook said; while the location is close to three bus routes serving downtown, “the Salvation Army is going to work to provide van transportation services” so that shelter users can get to appointments, interviews, doctors, something “not typically offered.”

One question asked at this month’s NHUAC meeting – will the shelter be serving just people found to be unsheltered in this area? Ellerbrook says “all of our shelters operate regionally” – so that, for example, someone can show up at a shelter in Bellevue and say they’re from Seattle, and they will still be allowed in.

But, he added, “we’re going to actively do outreach with the Salvation Army and Sound Mental Health to the folks who are homeless in White Center, to make sure they are aware of the shelter, that they can bring their belongings and leave them (at the shelter) even when it’s closed during the day, that it’s OK for couples and pets.” The county already has outreach “in this community,” he said, including at the White Center Food Bank next to the planned shelter site, and at areas where people experiencing homelessness are known to be camping, such as along Myers Way.

Shelter users will not be screened for criminal backgrounds. “These are people who are in the community now – whether they are a felon, or someone just down on their luck, they’re camping in green spaces … our hope is to bring them into a known location like (this) so we can get them connected to services and housing and make them more of a known quantity to all the service providers.”

Also: Alcohol and drug use will not be allowed in the shelter, but if people are under the influence when they arrive, that will not keep them out. “What we find is that most folks who come in are quite tired,” Ellerbrook said.

There will be no limit on nights that people can stay in this shelter. “We often find people might come in for a short period of time, some for a long time … we really hope to move people through the system” and get them into housing, says Ellerbrook.

We asked if the building will be undergoing any major alterations to transform it into a shelter. No, said Ellerbrook, but after the community meeting, they will be applying for a permit that he says is required for “change of building use.” They hope to be able to open by November 1st, while realizing that’s a “tight timeline.”

The meeting notice also promises a discussion of the site’s future, potentially a mixed-use project with affordable housing and offices for service providers. Steve Daschle of West Seattle-based Southwest Youth and Family Services talked about this at last xx’s NHUAC meeting, and he and White Center Community Development Association executive director Sili Savusa will be at this Thursday’s meeting to discuss it.

In the meantime, Ellerbrook says the shelter could be in operation for three years.

Is the county looking at any additional potential shelter sites in White Center?

“We’re not planning anything beyond this right now,” Ellerbrook replied. “Our hope is that we will be able to get people connected and move them out” into real housing. “We hope we can move the needle on homelessness in this particular region.”

And if they can … “we might be able to re-evaluate the need for this facility.”

The community meeting on Thursday (September 15th) is at the Bethaday Community Learning Space in Dick Thurnau Memorial Park (635 SW 108th), 6:30 pm.

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FOLLOWUP: Next week’s meeting about emergency shelter on 8th SW

September 9th, 2016 Tracy Posted in housing, White Center news 5 Comments »

(King County Assessor’s photo)

In our coverage of this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, we mentioned NHUAC president Liz Giba‘s announcement of a King County meeting next Thursday regarding a “temporary emergency shelter” planned for the old Public Health building at 10821 8th SW.

We’ve since obtained the county’s official notice. See it here, as a PDF; below is its text:

Community Services Division
Housing and Community Development
Department of Community and Human Services

Proposed Project: Temporary White Center Emergency Overnight Shelter

Meeting Date and Time: September 15, 2016, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Meeting Location: TAF Bethaday Community Learning Space, 605 SW 108th St

King County Department of Community and Human Services invites the public to attend a meeting to learn about a proposed temporary, emergency overnight shelter at the former White Center Public Health building located at 10821 8th Ave. SW, Seattle` 98146 (Parcel No. 062304-9405). In addition to providing emergency overnight shelter to approximately 70 people, the operator will also provide outreach to people who are homeless in White Center, assistance in finding permanent housing, and other services. There will also be an opportunity to learn about long-term planning for the site.

Alternative sites for emergency shelter in the area may be proposed by the public. People may monitor the progress of the permitting process by contacting the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review or by viewing the department’s website.

For more information contact Valerie Kendall by phone at 206-263-9076 or email at

As previously reported here on WCN, long-term planning for the site includes a potential development to house nonprofit service providers and to provide affordable housing units – no specifics, though, to this point.

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Mixed-use project under consideration for county-owned site at 8th/108th

April 24th, 2016 Tracy Posted in housing, King County, White Center news Comments Off on Mixed-use project under consideration for county-owned site at 8th/108th

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Discussions are under way about a possible development at the county-owned site at 8th SW/SW 108th that includes the White Center Food Bank and a former health clinic, according to the head of one of the agencies involved in those discussions.

Steve Daschle, executive director of West Seattle-based Southwest Youth and Family Services, mentioned this while speaking Wednesday night to the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, a monthly meeting we routinely cover for our partner site WSB. He said, “It’s still very conceptual right now, and we’ll be coming back for community support. … We’re hopeful we can pull together the resources to build some housing at that site.” He acknowledged there might be community concerns too, “but I think we’re going to have to try to overcome their concerns by suggesting that housing is never a bad thing.”

If you’ve only seen the 1961-built offices on the site, you might wonder if it’s big enough for a mixed-use project, but county records show it includes open space that Daschle describe as “trees behind (the building).” Before mentioning the project, he had been telling DNDC members – from community councils and other organizations in eastern West Seattle – that SWYFS has found itself providing services further and further south in King County, as the people it serves move that way.

We’ll be following up this week to see if we can find out more.

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: What’s planned for March meeting

February 29th, 2016 Tracy Posted in housing, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: What’s planned for March meeting

This Thursday, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council invites you to its March meeting. From NHUAC’s Barbara Dobkin:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting
When: Thursday, March 3rd @ 7 pm
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112th Street – parking and entrance is in the back)

Please join NHUAC for an informative community meeting as we learn about an important way to help brighten North Highline’s future. The meeting will begin with videos about the Fair Housing Act and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2015 rule, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. We hope you will join us Thursday night as we begin this educational journey toward community empowerment.

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Need home repairs? Come to Habitat for Humanity’s White Center info meeting on Wednesday

February 24th, 2014 Tracy Posted in housing, White Center news Comments Off on Need home repairs? Come to Habitat for Humanity’s White Center info meeting on Wednesday

Need help affording home repairs? This might be for you:

Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County is providing home repairs to a limited number of White Center residents through its White Center Home Repair Program, a partnership with the White Center Community Development Association. To inform homeowners about the program and eligibility requirements for receiving home repair assistance, Habitat staff are hosting an informational meeting on Wednesday, February 26 at the Greenbridge YWCA, 9720 8th Ave SW.

Habitat Seattle-King County aims to provide White Center homeowners with a variety of exterior repair services, such as replacing broken windows, rebuilding porches or stair cases, painting to protect the home’s siding, roof repairs, and more. Blow-in attic insulation or other weatherization work may also be considered. Homeowners are selected to receive home repair assistance based off their need and willingness to partner with Habitat. The home in need of repairs must be their primary residence.

Those interested in the program are required to attend an information meeting. Please contact Donna Adair at or (206) 855-5214 to register for the meeting.

Wednesday’s meeting starts at 6 pm.

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Celebration today after 87 more apartments open at Seola Gardens

October 25th, 2013 Tracy Posted in housing, White Center news 1 Comment »

8:31 AM: A celebration is planned at 11 am today at Seola Gardens, now that it’s opened 87 additional apartments. King County Executive Dow Constantine, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott are scheduled to speak, according to a news release from the county which includes full details on the development – read it in its entirety on the King County Housing Authority website. The celebration is described as “community-based,” so it appears all are welcome – 11 am, with the location described in the news release as “outdoors at Seola Gardens, west of Fairwind Park and north of the community center, located at 11215 5th Ave. SW.”

12:28 PM: Stopped by for a few photos that we’re adding here.

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Green Canopy Homes buys ‘Clara, Zelda, Louise’ in White Center

November 15th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Environment, housing, White Center news 2 Comments »

Just announced by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission:

Green Canopy Homes, a Seattle company, purchased three existing homes today to be rebuilt with quality, energy efficiency, and today’s lifestyles in mind. The company has the tradition of naming their homes upon purchase. Clara, Zelda, and Louise are neighboring homes which were up for sale at the same time in White Center.

“This was a great opportunity for us,” says Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy, “and our first opportunity to save the character of a neighborhood by purchasing three homes side by side. We will make these homes more efficient, more livable and comfortable as well as lower the carbon footprint.” Green Canopy re-uses and remodels homes in local neighborhoods using leading efficiency methods and materials, while keeping the original charm and character intact. Even though these homes will use 50% less energy, the prices will be at market with no “premium in price” for the energy costs savings.

Green Canopy Homes was able to borrow funds from the Sustainable Energy Trust (“SET”) at an interest rate well below market. “We are glad that Green Canopy Homes was able to borrow from this fund,” explains Karen Miller, Chair of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. “The legislature created the authority for the Commission to create and administer the SET; however, we received no state or tax-payer money. The Commission was able to raise dollars for the fund to meet the legislative directive ‘to provide financing for qualified improvement projects.’ This is the first of hopefully many projects that will demonstrate the economic benefits of energy efficiencies and renewables.”

The homes to be retrofitted currently average 850 sq. ft. In addition to the improvements of ductless heat pumps, water efficiencies, new windows, and upgraded insulation, all three homes will have “great” rooms added bringing them in line with life-style expectations. Mr. Fairchild adds, “We think long-term about our work’s impact on the environment, and seek to create a community of urban dwellers who care about their neighborhood and their footprint within it. We are happy to partner with the Commission and SET to bring better and more efficient homes to Seattle.”

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission is a publicly accountable, self-supporting team, dedicated to increasing housing access and affordability, and to expanding the availability of quality community services for the people of Washington. The Commission accomplishes this by working with the investment community, nonprofit organizations, developers, first-time homebuyers, and beginning farmers and ranchers to bring private investment dollars to benefit families and achieve public goals in Washington, including energy efficient development and renewable energy resources.

We’re checking to see if we can find out more about where these homes are located.

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White Center real estate: First homes sold at Greenbridge, says King County Housing Authority

March 21st, 2012 Tracy Posted in Greenbridge, housing, White Center news Comments Off on White Center real estate: First homes sold at Greenbridge, says King County Housing Authority

The aerial view of Greenbridge is courtesy of West Seattle pilot/photographer Long B. Nguyen, who often shares spectacular views with our partner site West Seattle Blog. In this case, his image of Greenbridge landed in our inbox about the same time we received a note from King County Housing Authority project manager James Rooney, announcing a milestone – the first homes sold at Greenbridge.

The development’s status had been a source of some controversy with local community activists, since it was intended to be more a mix of owned and rented homes, like West Seattle’s High Point. Last fall, construction of the first seven homes intended for sale began at 8th and 100th. And now, Rooney tells WCN, they’re done, and sales have closed on four of them, with one more under contract, leaving two up for sale. He adds, “Although these homes are available for all buyers, HomeSight is offering up to $45,000 in down-payment assistance to buyers earning up to 80% of area median income.” (In case you’re househunting – here’s the official flyer.)

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Unity Village celebration: Now home to 30 families

November 17th, 2011 Tracy Posted in housing, White Center news 11 Comments »

30 new apartments have officially joined the White Center community, now that Unity Village has celebrated its grand opening. You might recall the affordable-housing project at 13th SW/SW 100th for its previous name, “Strength of Place Village”; the name change, says project sponsor White Center Community Development Association, came from its new residents as well as other White Center community members. Wednesday’s celebration included tours:

And of course, a celebratory cake:

Though the weather was a little too drippy for anyone to be using it, visitors got a good look at Unity Village’s sparkling playground.

Blessings for the ceremony were given by ministers from Seattle’s Choeizan Enkyoji Nichiren Buddhist Temple, Revs. Kanjin Cederman and Ryujin Sorenson:

Among the dignitaries on hand: White Center/West Seattle’s County Councilmember Joe McDermott:

Also involved in the $9.5 million development along with WCCDA are Capitol Hill Housing and Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association. You can read more about it here.

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Strength of Place Village is now Unity Village, with a November 16th grand opening

November 3rd, 2011 Tracy Posted in housing, White Center news Comments Off on Strength of Place Village is now Unity Village, with a November 16th grand opening

From the latest newsletter from Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, a partner in the project formerly known as Strength of Place Village:

As of November 2nd, the property is 100% rented! Thirty families are moving into beautiful Strength of the Place Village which the tenants have now renamed Unity Village. Please join us and our partners, Capitol Hill Housing and White Center Community Development Association, in celebrating the grand opening, Wednesday, November 16 from 3 pm to 5 pm. You will be treated to tours the first hour followed by a reception and program including remarks from King County Executive Dow Constantine. These new gorgeous units of affordable housing include rare affordable three bedroom units for the multi-generational families in our community.

Funding for this 30 unit project was provided by Impact Capital, King County, Washington State Housing Finance Commission, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Tax Credit Assistance Program, the State of Washington, National Equity Fund, Bank of America, the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound and the Bill & Melinda Gates Sound Families Initiative in conjunction with the King County Housing Authority.

Join us at Unity Village on the corner of SW 100th Street and 13th Avenue SW in White Center.

A similar announcement on the WCCDA website has additional details.

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Peek inside White Center’s new Strength of Place Village

July 13th, 2011 Tracy Posted in housing, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news 1 Comment »

It looks a little more done on the outside than the inside, but community members were invited to come over this afternoon to tour Strength of Place Village, the new 30-unit low-income housing complex at 14th SW and SW 100th. You’d have to use your imagination to think about the possibilities of the still-being-built interiors – this is going to be a community room:

The living spaces are taking shape – note the windows and brightness in this one:

As reported here earlier this month, applications are now being taken for prospective tenants. Strength of Place Village is a partnership between Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, White Center Community Development Association, and Capitol Hill Housing, whose Kate Gill de la Garza was a tour guide this afternoon. Ground was broken for the project last September.

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Strength of Place Village: Applications to be taken; community tour planned

July 1st, 2011 Tracy Posted in development, housing, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Thursday image from construction webcam at Strength of Place Village)
Updates from Kate Gill de la Garza at Capitol Hill Housing, which is a partner in building Strength of Place Village in White Center: They’re about to start taking applications for people to move into the low-income housing development at 14th and 100th, and there also will be a community tour for anyone interested in taking a look as it gets closer to completion. Here are those two announcements.

Submit an application
Sit down with a Quantum Management representative to fill out an application for housing & ask questions!
Date: Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Location: YWCA Learning Center at Greenbridge
Address: 9720 8th Avenue SW
Time: 3 pm-7 pm

For that event ONLY, child care, light refreshments and interpretation in Spanish, Vietnamese & Somali will be available, according to the announcement. Also, you can find a housing application by going to this page on the White Center Community Development Association site or picking one up at WCCDA HQ at 1615 SW Cambridge. Meantime, here’s the tour announcement:

Community Tour
Come and see what quality affordable housing looks like!
This tour is open to all!
Date: Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Location: Intersection of 14th Avenue SW & SW 100th Street
Time: 4 pm-6 pm

You can check in on the construction via the site webcam – see it here.

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Strength of Place Village groundbreaking in White Center

September 15th, 2010 Tracy Posted in housing, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news Comments Off on Strength of Place Village groundbreaking in White Center

Big turnout in White Center this morning for the groundbreaking celebration kicking off the construction of Strength of Place Village – that’s Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen offering a blessing, in our top photo, which State Sen. Joe McDermott described as,
“I think it is terribly fitting that we started today with greetings from the Chairwoman of the Duwamish Tribe. Native Americans have been in this area for at least 10,000 years. And on November 13, 1851 the Denny party arrived in West Seattle, not far from here. Back on the 4th of July a bunch of people gathered near there, in front of an institution that is now closed, and talked about how much “this place” matters. And I think that lesson is exceptionally important to remember today. This place does indeed matter. The partnership that we’re celebrating today talks about the strength that can be harvested in this community at coming together to make this place as valuable as it can be to further enrich the value that is already here. I’m pleased the State had been able to play a role in housing this project. And I’m look forward to not only coming back to cut the ribbon, but to move boxes into the new homes next summer.”

It’s a 30-unit housing complex at 13th SW and SW 100th for low-income families (income no more than $55,000/year). It’s also a collaboration between agencies including the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, the White Center Community Development Association, and Capitol Hill Housing. From those three agencies, with County Executive Dow Constantine, in the next photo, are WCCDA’s Aileen Balahadia, DNDA’s Derek Birnie, and CHH’s Chris Persons:

Balahadia said at the ceremony, ““As you can see, the strength of place here really isn’t about place at all…of the bricks and mortar of a building…or the dirt and soil that we’re going to be breaking ground on today. White Center is truly special because our people make it so. And we choose to work the White Center way where community works side by side with partners, policymakers, institutions, to lead the kind of change residents want to see in their community. SOPI is part of a greater White Center neighborhood action plan designed by residents. This property was initially identified and brought to our attention by the King County Sheriff’s office due to some public safety concerns on the site. They asked if we could do something together on this? The CDA and DNDA worked closely with the original owners of the property on those safety issues. And the neighbors and local residents were all informed and were part of co-designing this project. So it has been a tremendous accomplishment.” Of course, there was the ceremonial shovel-turning – can’t have a groundbreaking without that:

(With the shovels, from left, were White Center resident Laushonda Barquet, Impact Capital director Heyward Watson, Dow Constantine, Aileen Balahadia, Derek Birnie, Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Chris Persons, King County Councilmember Jan Drago, State Sen. Joe McDermott.) Barquet, a 25-year White Center resident, said, “When I think about a neighborhood where I would want to raise my son I think of a place like this. Where my son and I have a place to grow and accel safely. Also have stable housing. I can catch the bus or even walk to work. You can walk to school. White Center is a place where you can get fresh produce and all different types of ethnic food. This is also a neighborhood that is a safe place for my child to play and a safe place to leave my doors open when I’m cooking or cleaning. That’s why I participated as a resident in the design of SOPI Village and in raising awareness for the project. It is important that my voice and our voices provide the heart and soul in the leadership of a place like this, in White Center.” Here’s a closer look at the “I (Heart) White Center” hardhats:

This is one of the renderings showing what Strength of Place will look like:

Demolition work continues at the site now.

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Strength of Place Village groundbreaking date set: September 15

August 2nd, 2010 Tracy Posted in housing, White Center news 4 Comments »

The date’s now set for the groundbreaking ceremony at the 30-unit housing development Strength of Place Village, a collaboration between White Center Community Development Association, Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, and Capitol Hill Housing. It’ll start at the project site, 13th SW/SW 100th, at 11 am, followed by a barbecue at Steve Cox Memorial Park (one block away) at 11:45. Lots of info here.

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Follow Up on Editorial: Should We Take Susan Hutchison Seriously

September 28th, 2009 Ricardo Posted in boulevard park, development, Economy, Election, Government, housing, Jail Sites, Jobs, King County, safety, sustainability, Traffic, Transportation, white center 19 Comments »

For those who missed it, KUOW today broadcast an interview with, King County Executive, Susan Hutchison.  You can find the interview at KUOW Weekday.  In a prior post I had made the following observation which sparked a fair amount of discussion:

Ms. Hutchison has never held public office.  She has never had to struggle with the political realities of governing a complex political entity whose ambits include not only roads and sewers but social services, neighborhoods and law enforcement.  It is difficult to see how her experience on the board of the Seattle Symphony prepared her, in the slightest way, for such a weighty role.

If anyone had any doubt about Ms. Hutchison’s lack of specificity on issues, policies or even advisors, it is worth a listen (available on podcast).  Pressed by the moderator to name a single advisor who she consults, or who she would bring to her administration, she flatly resisted naming anyone, except to say bus drivers.  Her conclusion was “trust me” they will be great people.  I have nothing against bus drivers, but maybe she could have named a couple of the guys that she intends to bring to the Hutchison administration that will “bring people together.”  I’m sorry but calling Hutchison a “lightweight” does not begin to describe the chasm that is her lack of qualification to hold such an important post.  Listen for yourself.

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Should We Take Susan Hutchison Seriously: Editorial by Ricardo A. Guarnero

September 23rd, 2009 Ricardo Posted in Annexation, boulevard park, Businesses, development, Economy, Election, Greenbridge, housing, Metro, North Highline UAC, Politics, white center 22 Comments »

Given that White Center, Boulevard Park and surrounding areas are governed directly by King County, the choice of King County Executive should be taken very seriously.  The two candidates are Susan Hutchison and Dow Constantine.  Constantine is a fixture of West Seattle and White Center politics, so he is a known commodity.  Not so, Susan Hutchison, who hails from the East Side of the County.  Candidate Hutchison has run a “feel good” campaign, emphasizing her position to “bring people together.”  Her website’s issues page contains four short paragraphs, with the following priorities:

Jobs & the Economy:

Susan will help give small businesses the tools they need to create jobs…

Improve Transportation:

Susan will quickly implement simple changes to encourage transit ridership…

Budget Reform:

Susan will identify waste and restructure the budget to ensure our tax dollars are being spent effectively.

Protect Our Environment.

Susan will forge partnerships between environmental, labor and business groups as we work toward our common goal…

That’s it folks, Susan Hutchison’s platform for managing one of the biggest governmental entities in the country. In her defense, it might be said that she is offering as much detail as the two lightweights who are currently vying to be Seattle’s next mayor.  But then, that’s not much of a complement.

I will forthrightly state that I do not like Ms. Hutchison’s right-wing politics and that on that basis alone, she should be disqualified for the position.  Seattle and King County residents are a tolerant, liberal community.  To have a George Bush conservative speaking for us, just does not sit well.  But what about her competence?

Ms. Hutchison has never held public office.  She has never had to struggle with the political realities of governing a complex political entity whose ambits include not only roads and sewers but social services, neighborhoods and law enforcement.  It is difficult to see how her experience on the board of the Seattle Symphony prepared her, in the slightest way, for such a weighty role.

I often disagreed with former King County Executive, Ron Sims, but I found him thoughtful, intelligent and most importantly, quite knowledgeable on any issue relating to his role as Executive of the very large and expansive King County.  On the issue of affordable housing, we know nothing as to where Hutchison stands?  Does she support the Greenbridge and High Point housing/community developments?  If so, on what basis?  If not, why not?  Where does she stand on the issue of incorporation which raises the hackles of so many of White Center’s residents?

And what of her experience dealing with communities of color or economically distressed areas?  How does her “bringing people together” chirp really address the many challenges that White Center faces?  The fact is, nothing in her background begins to give her a serious understanding of White Center or similar communities.  There is no on-the-job training for such issues.  And Ms. Hutchison has given no indication that she even remotely cares about such issues.  In the end, Hutchison is what she was in her prior role as newscaster, a pretty face with a vacuous resume.

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White Center development on Seattle Council agenda today

August 10th, 2009 Tracy Posted in housing, White Center news 14 Comments »

Perusing the Seattle City Council‘s agenda for today, on behalf of partner site West Seattle Blog, we spotted an agenda item that actually has to do with White Center. The council will consider a proposal for Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Program, which is city-chartered, to partner with Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association to advance the SOPI Village affordable-housing project, for which DNDA got county and state funding two years ago. The development site is 13th SW/SW 100th (map). The legislation that the council will consider says “low-income housing tax credit equity is also needed as a major subsidy source, and DNDA has concluded that a joint venture is necessary to secure tax credit equity funding; and … DNDA desires to partner with Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Program (CHHIP) to secure tax credit equity necessary to allow the Project to move forward …” Though CHHIP’s properties are mostly located in areas closer to its namesake, its website says the organization does manage Holden Vista in the Highland Park area of southeastern West Seattle.

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Homeownership for the Community – Thursday, April 9th @ 6 p.m

March 25th, 2009 Ricardo Posted in development, Economy, housing, Real estate, white center Comments Off on Homeownership for the Community – Thursday, April 9th @ 6 p.m

Homestead Community Land Trust (HCLT) will be holding a special Informational Session at the Greenbridge Library, 9720 8th Ave. S.W. on Thursday, April 9th from 6 to 7:30 p.m. for anyone interested in learning more about affordable homeownership opportunities.

Homestead is partnering with eligible homebuyers to create affordable homeownership in the White Center and Boulevard Park.  How it works is the homebuyer selects a home that is FOR SALE and fits their needs and budget.  They pay $100,000 less than the sales price, significantly reducing their monthly mortgage payment.  In exchange for receiving the $100,000 –which does not have to be paid back – the homebuyer agrees that when they decide to sell, they will sell to another income eligible buyer at an affordable price.  In this way, the community maintains a stock of affordable homes and the homebuyer passes on the affordability to the next buyer.

For example, a recent Community Land Trust homebuyer in White Center is paying $950/month as their housing payment for a 2 bedroom single family home with a large basement and detached garage.  They have a stable monthly payment, have the opportunity to build equity, can live there as long as they want, and they receive the tax benefits of homeownership!

To qualify, you must  a) be a first-time homebuyer   b) earn less than 80% area median income for King County**   c) have the ability to be approved for a home loan   d) have a desire to live and own a home in the White Center/Boulevard Park community   e) have 1% or $2500 to put towards the down payment.

Please help get the word out by encouraging eligible future homebuyers to attend the session.   At the session we’ll provide:

  • An overview of Community Land Trusts and our approach to homeownership
  • A detailed view of Homestead’s Purchase Program for White Center/Boulevard Park
  • Steps to getting started on the path to Homeownership

You can contact Laura Evans with any questions or to RSVP for the session.

Laura Evans

Homeownership Program Manager

Homestead Community Land Trust

2524 16th Ave. S. Suite 300

Seattle WA 98144

ph: 206 323 1227 ext. 111

fax: 206 588 0253


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“Affordable housing” money announced, some for White Center

January 14th, 2009 Tracy Posted in housing, King County Comments Off on “Affordable housing” money announced, some for White Center

The county has just announced a VERY long list of programs and agencies getting $36 million dollars in all. Among them, the Homestead Community Land Trust, which will be working with eight first-time home buyers in White Center. Read the full list and details here.

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